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Made in California: Doug Edge's eco-political bench at 'The Last Plastics Show'

February 9, 2010 |  9:23 am

In a Jan. 15 Culture Monster post on "The Last Plastics Show" at Cardwell Jimmerson Contemporary Art, reviewer David Pagel noted that the work of Venice, Calif.-based Doug Edge pushed "mysteriousness to extremes, making wacky talismans that are too beautiful to ignore, yet too odd to make sense of by conventional means." That description certainly applies to the artist's rippling cast-resin pieces with bullet holes, which commemorate slain leaders Malcolm X and John F. Kennedy. But Edge's 1969 piece "Earth, Seed, Water Bus Bench," shown above, is a pretty easy read. 

"It was created for the first Earth Day 40 years ago," says Tom Jimmerson, co-owner of the Culver City gallery, where the 7-foot-long object is prominently displayed. Made during the birth of the green movement, the work is still meaningful today.

Its name stems from the ingredients encased within its molded plexiglass components. The uprights are filled with dirt, the seat slats contain plant seeds, and the wavy-topped back is a reservoir for water.

At $15,000, the one-of-a-kind original artwork is out of my league, but it did make me to wonder how I might make the same statement at a more affordable price. My take on the concept: Make three acrylic 18-inch acrylic cubes that could each be filled with earth, seeds and water. They could double as side tables. On a whim, I called Hastings Plastics in Santa Monica, where to my surprise, a representative said that the company had done refurbishing work on the Edge bench. The estimated cost for my idea would run about $1,500. Now I'm thinking that filling three small acrylic display cubes from the Container Store might be an  intriguing centerpiece. Or at least a conversation starter. 

"The Last Plastics Show" runs through Saturday at Cardwell Jimmerson Contemporary Art, 8568 Washington Blvd., Culver City; (310) 815-1100 or cardwelljimmerson.com.

-- David A. Keeps

Photo credits: Cardwell Jimmerson Contemporary Art